I know I’m really late on this post but I have had a lot going on, and I forgot to post my story! I wrote it a while ago though, so at least I just have to go through photos!
For my last week in Norway the weather was a little rough. It was dark and rainy all day, and it seems like Norway knows I’m leaving. On one day the weather managed to be good enough that Martin and I could enjoy a last hike (hiking in the rain makes me a little nervous since I’m a little clumsy) and explore a piece of Northern Norway that I had wanted to see since I got there. Lofoten! Just kidding. Apparently it wasn’t pretty enough this time of year so I had to settle for Kjerringøy. Okay…
Kjerringøy is actually very close to Bodø, so we could easily make a little day trip out of it without having to stay in a hotel or spend lots and lots of money. We tried to wake up early and get to the island super early so we could enjoy the full day, but that just didn’t happen. We ended up leaving around noon and getting there around 1 instead, but even after half a day there I was pretty exhausted.
We had to drive for 45 minutes or so to reach the ferry and then drive onto the ferry and ride it for 10 minutes. With such a short ride we didn’t even bother getting out of the car. After reaching the island, we drove to the other side where the trading post is. The scenery was so beautiful! Since we weren’t in the city anymore, animals were a little more prevalent. While driving on the one main road we had to come to a full stop so a few large cows could run across. Normally that wouldn’t be so scary, but they were coming from a hill with a lot of trees, so we couldn’t see how many were left, or even when the next one would just sprint across the street. We also passed the rocks that Alt for Norge was filmed on (I think), and that was a pretty cool thing for me.
Around 2.00 we were able to go on a tour of the trading house, but since this is a small island out in the country, the guides didn’t exactly know English. That meant a good one hour tour in solely Norwegian. I mean I picked up a lot of Norwegian in my 6 months here, but that was more of a “current times” vocabulary- words like bathroom, internet, bus… you know things you need to live. Not words that were used in the 1800’s like spinning, trading post, carriage… so keeping up was basically impossible without Martin just soaking in as much as he could and then telling me what he remembered in English. It was a lot like the church tour we went on in Trondheim back in December, and it always makes me feel so horrible when I need special treatment because I just haven’t grasped the language yet. Beforehand we were able to watch a VERY creepy movie about dead people that they had translated into English, but literally it was just Martin and I in the theatre. I mean they asked us when we wanted to go in and they would just start it at that moment. It was so creepy though, I mean it. It was supposed to be about the history of the island before a tour on foot, but it ended up making me worried about Norwegian ghosts. At least they’d be quiet. Or just talk about the weather.
It was pretty amazing being in that trading post though. I tried to do some extra research so I could present a little of what I probably would have learned had I understood the guide. So here’s some basics:
Kjerringøy was, in its time, the richest trading post in Nordland. Traders tended to trade dried and salted fish from the Lofoten islands and shipped a lot to Bergen. Like most of Norway, it was a pretty humble place until a great boom in 1860 when fish prices increased along with a large herring catch. Over time it slowly declined due to larger ships being produced that actually couldn’t make it into the harbor, and Bodø became the larger city. Christian Sverdrup owned the property in the beginning of the 1800’s, and his daughter (Anna Elisabeth) inherited it in 1830. She outlived her first husband and continued to run the island basically by herself until she married her second husband. She was loved by everyone and ran the show until her death.
Kjerringøy was all the rage in the 1800’s with all of the latest and greatest Europe had to offer. If you had a lot of money and you were from the North, you went to Kjerringøy to get the newest from France or Germany, and a lot of the trading house has very expensive and very rare material.
When we entered the house we had to wear some blue booties so we wouldn’t create more wear and tear on the building, and a lot of it was cracking pretty bad. I was a little worried we would end up falling through the floor a few times and I was sure to walk lightly. I spent most of the tour taking pictures and making my own conclusions without Martin so he didn’t have to constantly translate. After the tour he summed up a little bit and we enjoyed a cup of coffee together in the tiny café.
After a little while we decided to go on a hike since it was short, small, and something different. We had a little trouble finding it, so we stopped by the one hotel for some directions. We also saw the one “gas station” which was literally one gas pump that you pump yourself. I literally mean ONE. This island was small!
Going on a different hike was both exciting and exhausting. I didn’t like not knowing how far we were or how much longer we had to go, but I definitely loved reaching the top and having a completely different view. I think if I got in better shape, I’d love hiking up different mountains all the time like Martin does. This was a pretty common tur though, so there were a lot of signs everywhere explaining all of the trees and whatnot. That was cool.
Once we reached the top I had to pee REALLY bad, so Martin had the pleasure of attempting to teach me how to pee in the woods before I ran off into the trees. So I guess I can cross that off my list of things I’ve never done. Check.
After our hike we drove around the island for a bit (back towards the ferry) to find a nice spot to eat some buns and cheese that Martin prepared for us. We found a spot right on the coast and it was only a 3 minute walk from the road. It was a great end to our short but exhausting day.
I’m so glad I got to experience an important piece of Northern Norway before leaving, and I’m glad I got to share it with a true Norwegian! Coming back will be rough, but I’m so thankful for these last memories.
I’ll see you all in the states soon. Ha det!
The ferry. Oh yeah and the ferry company is from Martin’s hometown.
It was still a little cloudy, but man those red houses stick out!
Approaching the trading house. Almost all of these barns had grass on the roof.
A statue right outside. I believe it’s Christian Sverdrup, but I’m not totally sure…
The beautiful front of the trading post and the dock where trading ships would come in.
I thought this was extremely interesting: back in the 1800’s, white paint was very expensive and rare, so having a white house was a sign of economic success. Entering through this front door was a huge honor that was reserved for only the best traders. The post obviously had a lot of house workers, and if they worked hard enough one or two of the house workers after many many many years would earn the right to enter through that door.
If you weren’t worthy, you had to enter through the back, which as you can see is not white, but yellow! This is the side all of the house workers entered through, save one or two.
Once you enter through the white front door, you approach this extravagant living room. The important thing to note here is that the wallpaper is hand painted, and only two of it exist! I saw one of only two. This place was rich.
A little more to the right and you can see the smoke room. Women weren’t allowed in there, and now no one is! Oh well.
Next we approached the China room. That’s right- an entire room dedicated JUST to expensive plates.
This was also interesting: the house workers were segregated into two groups: the poor and the wealthy/educated? I’m not completely sure where that line was, but the two groups rarely saw each other. This door allowed the elite workers to give orders to the poor workers without actually having to see them. Here they can look into the china room. And the door locks, so whenever they don’t need to communicate with the poor workers, they don’t have to at all. Crazy. There were a lot of small doors like this, and large doors that locked from only one side.
The kitchen with the same type of little door.
This is the dining room with two important observations: The two portraits on the wall are of Anna and her second husband. The paintings were made at the same time. She obviously wore the pants in that relationship. Secondly, that china is rare and expensive! It was used in the English royal castle. This place was a BIG deal.
These are the tiny steps we had to walk up one at a time… man that was scary.
I’m telling you those steps were SMALL and warped!
Almost every window had a beautiful view- even in the bedrooms for the poorest of the poor.
The garden in the back was just beautiful too.
Small area for spinning.
A baking area? I KNOW this has to do with food, but I didn’t totally understand this versus the kitchen downstairs…
The guide in 1800’s garb.
I forgot that the view outside the spinning room was my favorite… a little red house!
The poor house workers’bedroom… I think…. these bedrooms were a little hard to keep straight.
Same here, notice the bed pans underneath as well.
But man they still had a beautiful view.
The elite house workers’ bedroom.
I believe this is where Anna and her husband slept, but I only got a picture of one of the beds….
The guest bedroom. Man was that nice!
A very old trunk made with that handmade wallpaper.
And of course a picture of me for dad. I LOVED those purple flowers behind me if anyone knows what those are??
This guy was eating food people left on their table! Seagulls are crazy.
On our hike up the “dinner hill”.
Our first real trip as an engaged couple!
A post talking about the Norwegian law stating that even if you own a large piece of land, if it’s a hiking trail anyone can be on it.
Some parts of the trail were pretty easy, but man the path was narrow.
This kid loves hiking so much more than me.
Fast forward- here’s the top!
It may have been a little dark, but man the view was beautiful from every side.
Every once in a while the sun would peek out just long enough for a picture.
So we had to be QUICK which is hard after a long day! Thank you Norway for making the photo beautiful-at least in the background.
I look HUGE in Martin’s jackets!
The coast where we had some dinner.
I have no idea what I’m so excited about.
It was a great place for dinner. We also spent some time walking around looking at all the sea creatures I had never seen before!
And I’ll end it with the most beautiful view from the top- just a little bit of sun!
And that’s all from Kjerringøy!
We had an amazing time visiting Thea in Trondheim!
NSB, the train company in Norway, had a deal for like 2 days where select train rides were 99 NOK. That’s about $20. One of the routes offered was from Bodø to Trondheim so we booked tickets to and from, and also tickets to take me back for my flight home in 10 days.
As some of you may recall, I flew into Trondheim on my way to Norway and stayed with Martin and Thea for a few days before we all left for Bronnoysund, so this was like coming full circle a little bit. It was really nice to have a second chance at this city because my first time around involved me being extremely sick, jet-lagged, confused, and cold. It was cold and windy and I had no idea what was going on. I don’t think I even ate that first day… jet lag hit me really hard. This time around it was sunny and warm, I wasn’t sick, I had an idea of what was going on now, and everything seemed to be a whole lot better.
I’ve also decided that Trondheim is my second favorite city in Norway thus far, second to Bronnoysund, because of the adorable houses. Just something about the culture and the way the houses are stacked up is just adorable. Bronnoysund only gets first because of Torghatten and Martin. I’m stuck with this dude so I better like his hometown.
So the train ride was 10 hours each way, and it was gorgeous. I read somewhere that it’s one of the most beautiful routes in northern Europe, and I believe it. I took LOTS of pictures from the train, so don’t worry. You will know exactly what I mean.
We spent the train ride watching Alt for Norge, which is a reality show here in Norway. 12 American contestants with Norwegian heritage compete weekly in challenges that are mostly everyday life for a Norwegian like skiing, fishing, hiking, Norwegian language, etc. Each week one person is eliminated and whoever wins gets to meet their family in Norway. Awesome show, and very fitting to watch on a train around Norway. Plus, I can sympathize with the Americans on the show because I have been forced to do a lot of those challenges myself. Unfortunately we were watching online and wifi does not actually manage its way through tunnels, so it took us hours to watch one episode.
Oh yeah and train food is expensive too. It was like 50 nok ($10) for a cup of coffee and it tasted like shit.
Anyways, we made it to Trondheim around 10 and watched some more Alt for Norge with Thea in her apartment before we headed to bed. I really like sleep so I wasn’t exactly up for some night life or anything.
The next morning we got up early to make a bus and a ferry type thing over to Munkholmen. It’s a little island off the coast of Trondheim and it’s a little odd. So first it was used as an execution site, and two men were actually killed and had their heads put on a stick to show people what happens when you go against the king. A little while later, it was used by monks as a monastery, which is where it got the name. Crazy, right? Afterwards it was used as a prison for a few years and Peder Griffenfeld was kept in there. At some point it was also used as a fortress so there’s some cannons, but they didn’t shoot far. Eventually the Germans took it, and now it’s a tourist site and a beach. What a story.
So we walked around there and did the tour inside. The guide offered to give it in English, but the last woman who walked in didn’t speak English so the guide gave it in both languages. I know I’m not expected to be perfect, but I’ve always felt like such a hindrance whenever a guide has to give the tour in English for me-even if I wasn’t the only one.
After that we just walked around the city basically. We stopped by Egon (which happened to be the first restaurant I went to as well) and met up with Margaret (Martin’s second cousin on his dad’s side? Cousins are complicated.) She was very sweet, although it was hard to hear her over everyone else.
We walked down Bakkelandet, which is the most beautiful part of Trondheim (it has all the pretty houses I like basically) and made our way to this restaurant that sits out on the water. It’s called the good neighbor (Den Gode Nabo), and with Thea being a local, we figured it’d be no problem to find. Unfortunately, Thea couldn’t find it so we asked some guy at 7-11 who told us that 1. It’s not called The Green Pier (den grønne brygge) and 2. We were RIGHT next to it. So we had a beer there and shared stories about Martin. Awesome. We were all a little tipsy after that so we had some Chinese food to sum up the night.
It was our 2 year anniversary of meeting, so Martin and I had a hotel room on Solsiden (the sun side…?). It was really relaxing to be in a comfy room with a nice view and have breakfast taken care of in the morning.
Later on that night Martin and I went back out to Solsiden to see the night life, but we went back in pretty quickly because I was cold and I don’t like loud drunk people especially ones that I can’t understand.
Next day we woke up and had breakfast. Apparently I’m not the best at breakfast eating because Norwegian hotels usually serve this cold breakfast buffet and I never try anything new. Ever. I mean at home Martin makes bread and puts butter, cheese, and cucumber on it every morning. Sometimes I’ll have jam, but I’ve never put anything else on bread except that. So we go out to this hotel’s fancy breakfast buffet with over 100 items including salmon, some sour fish thing, tomatoes, peppers, caviar…. Etc. And what do I put on my bread? 3 slices of cheese and 3 slices of cucumber. Martin was ticked. I mean we pay a bit of money for this breakfast and I ate the same thing I eat every day. I get that. At the same time, I didn’t want to ruin my expensive breakfast by putting something on it that I didn’t like. I should have had the freedom to be happy I spent that money on a breakfast I liked, instead of a daring one. Nonetheless I was coerced into trying some fish thing and it was bad. I mean I almost had a tear in my eye. Ugh. It’s called sursild. Don’t eat it.
We met up with Thea and went to the mall, so I don’t have a lot of photos from this day. We both bought a maxi skirt and a shirt which was so comfy. And expensive… but let’s not talk about that.
We also passed a Norwegian Bible School tent I guess? They offered free pancakes and coffee just because. A few beggars were playing music and sitting around. It was a nice break to have some coffee and listen to music.
After a long time shopping, we went back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and went back to Thea’s apartment before heading out to pizza. I’m really sad I forgot to get a photo, but I ordered a pizza with shrimp, pineapple, onion, peppers, or something like that. What was most noticeable was the shrimp and pineapple so I know that was on there. It wasn’t the best pizza I’ve ever had, but it wasn’t horrible. I think I’ll stick with cheese though.
We had another beer that night, and then walked back to Thea’s place to get some rest before leaving for the train at 6:30 AM. Ugh.
Obviously I don’t do well without sleep, so walking for like 10 billion hours with little sleep sucked. But eventually we made it to the train station! We were more prepared for this train ride since Martin downloaded the new season of Orange is the new Black. Take that wifi! We also slept a lot and enjoyed the view of course. It was a lot more cloudy and rainy so the pictures aren’t quite as pretty as the first time around.
Once we got home at like 6 we unpacked a bit and “took a nap” which meant waking up at midnight. My sleep cycle hates me.
I’m leaving in 10 days now, but I’m trying to not think about it. A lot of the international students have left, so seeing their posts from their home country is just a little reminder that we probably won’t meet again. That’s tough. There is some solace in knowing I will most likely return here, and that in a few days I’ll get to see my own family again, but man it sucks thinking I won’t wake up here with Martin, mountains, healthy food, nice hikes, and other things I’ve managed to start to like. (I won’t say I love them because then Martin will feel like he won or something like that and I can’t let that happen!)
Therefore, I might not post much for my last few days or communicate a whole lot on facebook. Don’t think that I’m ignoring you or hate you, just remember that I have 10 days to enjoy everything.
On a lighter note, here’s just a select few of the 500 photos we took during our…3? days to and from Trondheim.
Train ride photos!
This is on the Salt mountain
The landscape is just beautiful here!I tried to get a good photo of us on the trainOne of the stopsIf you look closely you can see a few red houses on this farm
Here we are watching Alt for Norge
I finally saw us cross the Arctic Circle! I have slept through this moment so many times (including on the way back) but this time I saw the little globe. It’s very hard to see, but it’s the little pyramid thing in the middle and slightly to the left.It was so hard to get a good photo of us AND the backgroundThese are the photos on the way back, but I figured I’d just put em in now.
What a cutie.
Mountains just seemed to go on forever.
It was so green!This is on Solsiden, some of the boats in the waterThis is the flower bridge on Solsiden. It reminded me a bit of Amsterdam.The “Share a Coke with” is a thing here, and Martin is a common name, so basically Martin is a celebrity now.At MunkholmenThis was some kind of modern art in the prison part or something…?Some more art?The tower was pretty, but the construction ruined it a bit! Turns out the wood on top wasn’t very stable after a storm and they were fixing that.The beachOne of the cannons still up. Back when it was shot most shots didn’t even make it to land… not too effective!
The view of Trondheim from Munkholmen.
The ducks came really close. I mean this duck was like walking TO Thea.These flowers were so pretty! They were a little more blue than this photo shows but… stillInside the tower
Peder Griffenfeld’s cell
Munkholmen from the boat I just love the buildings here.
At Egon, enjoying a coffee waiting for their cousin to arrive.I really like this picture of us! Oh and I got this dress at H & M for like $18.
This is Bakkelandet. It’s supposedly a lot like Bergen?
Our beers on the green pier actually called Den Gode NaboThis is us around MIDNIGHT just walking around Solsiden. I told you this midnight sun thing is real!So classy. A beer can in the flowers on the flower bridge. Photo turned out nice though.Our view from the hotel of the sunset at midnight. Well… “sunset”Solsidens nattliv. The sun side’s night life. This is what night looks like.Our free waffles from the Bible school in Trondheim. It says Free coffee and waffles because Jesus loves you!
A view of Trondheim from our bus stop. If it was a liiiiittle greener it’d look like Oz.
The train stationAnd a scenic photo from the train to end it all.
We had a great time in Trondheim! I’m so glad I got to go back once before I leave.
Ha det bra! I’ll be able to see a lot of you in a few days.
Norway has had some amazing weather lately! I haven’t blogged much since we have been enjoying the nice weather by going to the lake and grilling and hiking a bunch.
The midnight sun is also in full bloom now, so we are sleeping at weird times since you know, the sun is always up and the birds chirp 24/7. With not a lot of time left, the days are starting to blur together.
Here’s some photos from our week of amazing weather before the trip to Trondheim!
From our hike around the campsite: Bodøsjøen.
It was a little warmer, but still windy!The trail we were on
At the lake grilling. Martin made some AMAZING salad with feta and tomatoes and olives. Ugh it was so good.Going up Keiservarden. The sunset is always so beautiful.The water was so still. Also the random rock in the middle is pretty cool.
At one of our stops on our hike enjoying coffee.Looking down at the city… well some of it!The view from our spot at the top. It’s not the absolute top, but a few steps down is really soft, blocks the wind, and is away from other people.
Panoramics are fun :) And that’s me on the right.Some weird plants on the mountain. Reminds me of something from a Dr. Seuss book. Martin says it’s a weed but he doesn’t know what they’re called.An awesome photo to end with! We spent a LONG time looking for our names (Rebecca IS a Norwegian name but it isn’t as common as Martin).
And that’s how we spent our week! Next stop- Trondheim. I’ll be going through our 500 pictures and posting about it soon!
So Liz officially made it back to St. Louis totally safe, but this post is about her last 4 days in Bodø.
We decided to spend the day walking around downtown since it was supposed to be really nice. It was a little rainy though, and we woke up pretty late. So late that by the time we actually HIT downtown everything was closed.
We did however stop by Farmor’s Stue, which means Grandma’s Livingroom, and is a very adorable (but expensive) cafe. It’s decorated exactly how you would expect a Norwegian grandma to decorate. I really enjoyed it.
We stayed for a few hours because the coffee was $5 each, served in a small tea cup, but included free refills. SO we drank a lot of coffee.
After that everything was closed, so we basically walked around a little bit and went home to watch An Idiot Abroad.
We got a better start this morning. We decided to visit Saltstraumen, which is the most powerful mælstrom in the whole world. It was much warmer than last time I went! We also brought food to grill and a fishing pole.
I’d love to tell you we caught fish, but Liz and Martin just kept catching seaweed. I tried fly fishing ONCE and the pole broke. So that’s done.
It was a little chilly, but it was nice to grill hamburgers and hotdogs on the rocks and watch the tide come in/out (I can never tell which is which) while listening to music.
Later on we went to Rønvikfjellet to take some awesome pictures, and we saw a moose!
We also decided to go out and have a beer, which meant walking to downtown at 1 in the morning. There are quite a few bars in Bodø, but they have cover charges of about $30. No thanks. After walking around for a good 30 minutes, we went to a pub which was full of old people. But hey, we had beer!
Sunday felt a lot like Saturday, except the grilling this time was at the lake. We went to Soløyvatnet to swim and grill the leftovers from Saturday. It was a little warmer, so Liz and I attempted to tan while Martin got the grill ready, but then the wind came and we put jackets and pants back on.
We never really went for a swim, but we did wade out into the water. I don’t think Martin was happy with us because he got in pretty fast while Liz and I stood there with our arms crossed over our chest freezing while we said “No I am not getting in that” and Martin chanted “COME ON YOU CAN DO THIS JUST GO UNDER ONCE MY GOD”. So we did. It was cold. Really really cold.
And then we ate and got in the car and went home.
We watched some TV and decided to take a nap so that we could go on a hike when the sun came up at 2 AM. This basically meant no sleep because Liz had to be at the airport by 6 or so.
So 1 AM we woke up and slowly got ready for a hike. We brought coffee and chocolate like always. I hiked really slow due to the fact that we haven’t eaten the best food (her vacation is mine, right?), we hadn’t hiked in a few days, and I didn’t sleep. But eventually we made it to the top, basically chasing the sun.
It was so windy, let me tell you. The mountains did NOT want us up there, and we were blowing everywhere. We found a spot with these really soft plants to sit on (it’s like pillows on a mountain) but we had to walk down some gravel first. I didn’t even take a step. The wind pushed me and I slid right down. Either way, once we found our spot, we took out the coffee and Kviklunsj and enjoyed the sun coming up.
Afterwards, we took a trip to the pier (which I haven’t seen since we first came to Bodø). Martin found and stole a scooter, and Liz rode it at some point too. I really hope that didn’t belong to some innocent child. Anyways, we enjoyed some time over there and then returned home by like 4 or so. Then Liz took a shower, packed, and we were off.
After Liz left we went back to sleep and didn’t wake up until 2 PM.
As of tomorrow I have 3 weeks left here in Norway. Everything is starting to feel urgent- I even have a list of all the things I need to buy before I leave now. I spent all these months watching things to see if they’d go on sale, and now I just have to suck it up and buy them. It’s even getting a little hard to sleep because I’m afraid I’ll sleep through all the time I have left!
I guess this means I should spend some time finding some reverse culture shock books.
In the meantime, here’s the remainder of the photos from Liz’s time here.
It was so cute!
Fishing at Saltstraumen
The bridge over Saltstraumen
Another beautiful view
Our fishing spot
Our second fishing spot was equally pretty
Liz braided my hair :)
Firing up the grill
You can see the bridge in the background
On top of Rønvikfjellet.
Kinda hard to see, but I’m sitting on the rock coming out
Liz doesn’t like photos I guessIt was a beautiful view
The hill we grilled on My university cup
Martin liked to tan too
This is a senje tree. I really like them
The view from the lakeMartin with the chocolate fondant and strawberries he made, with a side of Nordlands pils.
This is still at the lake
Here we are in the arctic water which according to Martin is “so warm”
Keiservarden at 2 AM. Also that boat is Hurtigruten
The cabin we usually sit in with the sun on its way up
And there’s my coffee cup with the water in the background.
You have no idea how hard it was to get a good photo of this.Martin totally messed this up, but he likes that he looks like an alien or something.
I’m always colder than everyone else… I wear like 4 layers! Here I have a tank top, a long sleeved shirt, a sweat shirt, and then my coat.You can see Bodø behind usPerfectly captured photo
Probably a better photo Liz would approve of
And here we are at the pierA totally different sign… this is why Bodø is the windy city!
The majestic scooter
Martin wanted a photo too
Sitting down at the pier with the mountains and the city in the background
I found pretty flowers on our way!
And the sunrise to end it all.
It was so great to see you Liz, and I’m glad I got to share a bit of Norway with you! Also thank you for taking my sweaters home!
Hope everything is going well with everyone in the states… I’ll be joining all of you again soon.
Upon downloading photos from my camera, I found a bunch from a sunny day of hiking up Keiservarden that I forgot about!
This would be those.
And that’s all the photos I forgot!
Nothing big to say… I think you get the gist.
Since Liz is here for 10 days, we’re trying to show her basically EVERYTHING I’ve seen in the months I’ve been here. This has been a bit hectic, but we did decide that on our first day back in Bodø we were taking a break.
After getting back so late Monday night/early Tuesday morning, we slept in. Actually, we’ve slept in every day since we got back.
When we did wake up, we had the normal breakfast (buns and toppings like jam or ham or cheese and butter). We then enjoyed a few hours at the spa! This was my third time at the spa at Nordlandsbadet, and I’m really starting to enjoy it.
Liz got to experience the European locker rooms where you have to shower naked and the cool electronic wristbands the spa uses. We went around to the outdoor hot tub in the rain, checked out each of the saunas, even did the mint shower and ice shower. Well, Martin did the ice shower.
It was so nice to have a day to relax and recooperate.
The weather was still a little meh for hiking. I mean, we COULD go, but the view wouldn’t be as beautiful, so we decided to put it off and do some different things.
We went down to see some WWII things in Bodø, where Germans had set up bunkers to regulate ships coming into the harbor in Bodø. It’s still so crazy that Norway lets these bunkers stand after the war, and that now we can even have a picnic for free.
We saw the oldest (and smallest or “most charming”) cruise ship when it came into town too. We got to enjoy some cake for the ship’s 50th anniversary, but that’s about it. Just a few calming days!
We finished watching the first season of An Idiot Abroad during breakfast. We decided to go downtown and see Glasshuset (the mall), but shopping got old pretty quick.
We went back to port and saw the most modern cruise ship which came in today. What a difference! It was like 6 times larger than the ship from Wednesday.
We also went to go feed ducks, but that turned into feed the DUCK and 3 million seagulls.
Martin wanted to stop by Europris to pick up some lighter fluid afterwards. This seemed fine until we got there and THE WHOLE STORE WAS 40% OFF. Awesome for our wallets, but such a time waster. We waited in line to check out for 2 hours or so. Phew.
We came back home and had some pizza Martin made, took a nice break, and got ready to hike.
It was a little rainy on our way up and down Keiservarden, but we took lots of breaks and lots of pictures while we watched the sun “set”. We are officially in midnight sun season, so the sun never truly goes all the way down, but we still see some nice red color in the sky.
On our way up we stopped and enjoyed some cider, which was a GREAT idea and I’m really glad we did it. Probably my favorite hike thus far, and I’ve seen Keiservarden a few times. Maybe I like it because I’m familiar with it now.
And that’s the gist of it! Liz has a few days left, so we’ll still be doing plenty of other things during her time.
At the same time, this is my last month here! It’s starting to feel a little bittersweet. I’m not sure when we do something, if it will be the last time I get to experience that. It was a slap in the face this morning when two of my closest friends here, Anja and Petra, left to go back to Austria. It’s strange to think that I might never have the chance to see all these people again, and that we’re going back to our respective parts of the world. Ugh.
On a happier note…. photos!
A view of some houses from the WWII stuff.
Hanging out in some of the bunkers in our matching hats
Liz making an awesome pose while I have no idea what to do
Enjoying the mountains
Sitting in the area of a cannon? Enjoying the view.
We take beautiful selfies.
You can see a fence separating a cannon or something from the rocks for safety.
Down by the water at the WWII stuff
Sitting on top of a storage bunker? I’m not sure what to call it…
A “window” in one of the bunkers.
I got stuck!
Down at the campgrounds feeding the ducks.
The one duck.
Martin attempting to feed the duck.
We saw a puffin!
Liz feeding the duck.
All of the seagulls
On our way up Keiservarden
Liz’s hat blew off…. mountains are windy!
Enjoying our ciders
The beautiful view on the way up
We try to be cute… doesn’t go so well
NOW the view from the top.
Liz enjoying the view
And as always I’ll end it with a beautiful view. We picked a great day to go out! Not too many clouds that we can’t see anything, but just enough to get some color.
Ha det bra, especially to my Austrian friends on their flight home!
So these are the photos from Brønnøysund from May 16 until May 19. I have many other photos to go through, but you gotta start somewhere!
A reindeer on our way to Brønnøysund! Liz decided to name all of them Sven.
The parade. Notice the girls have a blue version of the same dress :)
The Russ. They run and blow whistles through the parade. In hindsight, that’s pretty incredible. I was sore and tired just from sitting in a car, and these kids are probably really hungover.
On our drive down to Brønnøysund (sorry they’re a little out of order)
We hiked up to some of the WWII stuff which is still around. It’s strange to see these things like cannons covered in firewood and park benches.
You can see the bridge in Brønnøysund that’s large enough for the cruise ship to fit under.
On the coast :)
Starfish washed up on the tires.
Every year the boy scouts make this for the 17th of May. Those are Norwegian flags!
The hole in Torghatten
Thea and I weren’t happy about a photo.
Liz looking out at the sea…. too bad it was so cloudy.
Walking around the mountain after making our way down.
Liz drinking mountain water and yelling at Martin about something.
Torghatten from the top of Gåsheitinden
Martin writing in the book at the top.
We look beautiful in the car.
The top of Salbuhatten with perfectly still water.
Liz took this one of Lise, Martin, and I
The mountains are beautiful.
Pointing to Gåsheitinden, which is the mountain we went up the day before. Much smaller!
It actually got pretty hot this day!
So at this point we’re back on the road! This is where we stopped to eat for “only 15 minutes”.
The trees are such a beautiful green.
It was a beautiful place to stop.
We saw a puffin. It’s that white spot on the rocks.
The view from the benches.
Back on the road
The river we stopped at later for more food and a bathroom stop. The bathrooms had toilets, but no sewage, so it was like a toilet shaped hole.
Martin smiling :)
Hay bales. Norway is having a protest from the farmers, so it says: Norwegian food, yes thanks!
Sun “set” on the road
I love the red houses!
And the Arctic Circle that I missed again.
I’ll end my photo update with a nice panoramic. We had a great time!
Ha det bra :)
Jeg er for sent men…. gratulerer Norge! 200 år :)
I am aware that this is being posted late, but we have been doing everything possible while Liz is here, so there’s not a whole lot of down time. I haven’t gone through all of the photos yet, so I’ll just post a few and tell you all what’s going on. Once I have some time I’ll make a big post of just photos.
May 16 and 17
Liz arrived on the 16th, with plenty of airline drama! Her first flight from St. Louis to Newark was competely cancelled (thanks United) which meant she wouldn’t be able to make her international flight and whatnot. That’s a horrible start to the first time leaving the country! Eventually they found a flight, and although her last flight was ALSO delayed by a few hours, she arrived in Bodø around 8 or so.
I in the meantime had a farewell dinner to get to (which I have no photos of, so I will be spending some time finding those). I have been looking forward to this dinner for a while because it’s like the last chance to see everyone who is in the same boat as you. When I return to the US, I’m sure the Study Abroad office will have many people returning, but no one will be from UiN or even from Norway… except maybe Norway, MO.
The dinner was nice. I haven’t seen a few of them in a while, so I really enjoyed my time while Martin was picking up Liz from the airport.
Afterwards we began our 8 ish hour drive from Bodø to Brønnøysund. Martin drove the whole way, and Liz and I got a bit of sleep. I missed us passing the Arctic Circle for the… 4th time? (1- Moving to Bodø, 2-Hurtigruten from Bodø, 3-Hurtigruten back to Bodø) because I was asleep like every other time. We listened to lots of music and watched the sun not set like every other day.
I had to pee really really bad by the time we got to Mo i Rana (about halfway), which is usually no big deal because it’s a big city. However, the 16th of May is the night everyone goes out and gets drunk, which apparently means gas stations either close down altogether, or close their bathrooms. I was a big girl and waited until we hit a big city, but I still had to wait a full hour for us to find a bathroom. There was no way in hell I was going outside in the woods because it was still darkish and there’s animals and creepy things in the woods at night. No thanks.
We made it to Brønnøysund around 5 or 6, which means the sun was already up in full. We woke up at 9 to eat breakfast and see the parade. Thea gave me permission to wear her bunad, which is the traditional dress in Norway. Each state has a different dress, and the dresses require some silver, so they are not cheap and are extremely traditional. She told me that a new one costs 30 000 kr, which is like $5,000. I paid less for my car. Hers is a hand-me-down from their grandma, but that doesn’t really help either! I was so scared I would damage it in some way.
The parade was adorable. The 17th is more of a kids day than anything, and each class has a spot in the parade, which means watching lots of little kids (and older, graduating kids) parade around in bunads.
Afterwards we all got ice cream, which went horribly. Liz had a rough time with an ice cream cone that had a layer of frozen chocolate on top. I was smart and got a bowl of ice cream instead (worried about the bunad), but I still managed to make a bigger mess than her. I don’t even know how that’s possible.
We had dinner with Martin’s family that night, and man it was so nice to have a native English speaker with me who could just understand how exhausting and awkward these dinners are when you don’t speak Norwegian. Liz even made a huge effort to talk to people, and they basically said the bare minimum. I guess since most don’t have to speak a lot of English, that was probably a bit frightening.
Dinner was amazing as always. Thea switched into the bunad at that point, so I had on a nice dress…. which I should find some photos of. It’s hard to take pictures sometimes!
Oh before that we went hiking to the hole in Torghatten. I forgot to mention that. In my defense we were all tired.
I think that’s basically it for the 17th of May! It was a great, but tiring, day in Brønnøysund. Definitely the adventurous start Liz wanted.
We slept in a bit longer than we planned, but man it felt good. Today was Thea’s birthday (21!) which was much less exciting and much more sober than it would have been in the US.
She wanted to barbeque and go swim in a lake 30 or so minutes from home. So, after breakfast we all changed and got ready to leave. It was a beautiful place, really, and I hope I can go back when it’s a little warmer. But on this day, it was not warm, and it was rainy, and the grill wouldn’t light, and then Martin jumped in the water, and after seeing his reaction and seeing Thea’s boyfriend not get in, I figured it was only fair that I also not get in. If I had only been staying here for 10 days, I probably would have. But I’m not, and I didn’t.
We went back home to have barbeque anyways, and then 2 hours later had more food! I love food, so this was nice. We had a casserole similar to mac n cheese with cod in it.
Afterwards we had coffee and cheesecake (made by Thea)with family. That cake was amazing.
We went hiking later in the day to Gåsheitinden, which is a mountain I haven’t been on, so that was nice. It was a shorter mountain, but it was still DEFINITELY a workout. Beautiful view though.
After all that business and a shower, we hit the hay before our last day in Brønnøysund.
We tried to wake up earlier, but I feel like that didn’t go well. We had our usual breakfast this morning, and prepared to hike again. We went to Salbuhatten, which is next to Gåsheitinden, but a bit taller. We went with Lise as well.
Beautiful view, lots of photos, haven’t gone through them. Sorry.
On the way down Liz got us off the path, but it was pretty awesome because the path we took involved steppng on squishy stuff which is apparently moss, but it didn’t look like moss because it wasn’t green and it was on rocks too, but that’s what Martin says it is.
Anyways, after that we went to the mall, which was pretty uneventful.
Afterwards we pretty much saw everyone and got ready to leave.
We took FOREVER getting home because we kept making stops. We stopped to have food like 30 minutes into the drive, and this stop was supposed to take 15 minutes or so, but then Liz wanted to go down to the water and skip stones and whatnot.
A little bit later we passed a strong waterfall with a fence up (because if you fell in you would DIE) but some of the dirt underneath a spot had eroded away. I have never seen someone look as sad as Liz when Martin said she couldn’t go under the fence. I have also ever seen someone look as happy as when she did it anyways.
Some point after that I fell asleep and missed us crossing the Arctic Circle for the 5th time, and then we arrived in Bodø and got some sleep.
So that’s our time in Brønnøysund, up until the 20th.
Hope everyone is doing well on the stateside, and also to all my friends who already went back to their homecountries in Europe.
Thank you again Thea for letting me borrow your family heirloom for a few hours so I could have an amazing experience. It means the world to me, and hopefully I can repay you one day in America (though we don’t have fancy traditional dresses).
I’ll end with a FEW photos.
And I’ll end it wth the statue at the Arctic Circle / Polar Circle that I have now not seen 5 times.
Ha det bra!
So not at lot has been going on since I have my last exam this week and then Liz gets here! However, today Martin and I joined ISU on the canoe trip and last night we watched the Eurovision finals.
Canoeing was nice. We took a two person canoe so I only had to rely on Martin to not be a jerk and tip us over. It was pretty calm actually, and it was probably good for us to use our arms instead of our legs since we usually go hiking.
I don’t know a LOT about canoeing so it was nice to have him around even though he stuck me in the back, so I was in charge of steering. Ugh.
Anyways, some of the other guys had a bit of trouble I guess, since one guy was standing in a canoe!
They made hotdogs too, but we have rice porridge at home and I was looking forward to that.
Last night we watched Eurovision, which is like American Idol and the Olympics put together. Each country spends time picking someone from their country to represent them in the competition with an original song. Then you watch the semi finals and vote for your favorites so they move to finals, and then you vote again. It costs about a dollar a vote though, so it’s not like American Idol where one person votes a billion times.
After voting ends, each country basically tallies up their votes, and delegates their points that way. 12 points to their top voted, 10 to second place, 8 to third, 7, 6… etc. Then each country has an announcer tell how many points they gave to who, and after all 37 countries have voted, the contestant with the most votes wins!
Oh and you can’t vote for your own country, so that’s another nice twist. Norway can’t give any points to Norway.
Anyways, a lot of the songs are really catchy, or just plain awesome.
I voted for Austria, and he won! Some girls from my Norwegian class are from his hometown so that’s cool. I’ll leave a link to all of the songs so if you want to see the contestants you can.
That’s it for now…. ha det!